I’m not ashamed to admit that these Peppermint Brownies were inspired by everybody’s favorite Girl Scout cookie, the Thin Mint. As a kid, I loved those cookies and just about any combination of chocolate and mint, York Peppermint Patties included. I’ve spent a lot of time since then working on this brownie, perfecting its rich, fudgy texture and cool peppermint essence.
A double hit of mint comes from two sources. While developing recipes over the years, I’ve found that I get more layers of flavor when I use more than one form of an ingredient in a recipe. Different forms of an ingredient hit different points on the palate. For this reason, I layer the mint flavor in these brownies by using both peppermint tea leaves and peppermint extract.
Years ago, I began experimenting with the leaves from mint tea bags on a whim and found that they gave off a strong, even flavor. But the cool, minty sensation I love was absent. Further testing revealed that the missing tingle comes from peppermint extract.
To incorporate the peppermint tea leaves, I grind them together with the sugar in a food processor. This refines the coarse texture of the tea leaves and ensures that they’re evenly distributed in the brownie batter, so the flavor is more consistent. The processing also makes the sugar finer, which helps make the brownies smooth and chewy.
I wanted these brownies to have a really dense, fudgy texture, so I decided not to use any leavens. I also added something that I normally wouldn’t: white chocolate—but just in the glaze. It serves a purpose. I needed to distinguish the peppermint brownies from the plain ones in my bakery case, and the bit of white suggests the flavor of the peppermint within.
It doesn’t require much skill to swirl the white and dark chocolates, but it looks great: just drizzle the white chocolate over the dark and use a toothpick to create a pretty pattern.